Dear Crabby, Should I Tip My Delivery Person During the Holidays?

Dear Crabby,

Before the first flake fell, I was seeing Amazon Prime, FedEx, and UPS vans zipping through my neighborhood. This got me wondering if there is any tipping or gifting protocol for these poor folks who have to schlep all my Cyber Monday deals to my doorstep.

Ima Giver

Dear Ima Giver,

Ahh, yes. Cyber Monday. The supposed reason brick-and-mortar shops are going out of business. After Thanksgiving dinner, my daughter and granddaughter were working on spreadsheets for which stores had the best deals. Mind you, I think it’s all madness, but different strokes for different folks and all that. Hey. Did you see the story back in October about the woman with the welcome mat that reads, “Please Hide Packages From Husband?” A UPS worker took the sentiment to heart and put her package under the mat as requested. The problem was the package was longer than the mat! Of course, the woman posted a picture, it went viral, and everyone had a good laugh. But back to your question. As far as tipping or gifting, there seems to be a number of routes (get it?) you can take.

Dear Crabby sits infront of his laptop

Dear Crabby Gives Advice

First, before parting with your hard-earned cash or a tin of your grandma’s favorite fruitcake, consider the quality and frequency of the service you receive, where you live (is it out in the boonies or in a busy city?), your budget (can you realistically afford to open your wallet one more time?), and your relationship with the delivery person. I know the last point may sound a little touchy-feely, but hear me out. When I was a kid, everyone in our neighborhood knew Hank, the mailman. He’d been delivering mail and Sears’ catalogs for at least a hundred years. And before that as a young fella, he delivered newspapers in the neighborhood. Everyone loved Hank. We knew all about him and he knew all about us. Hank was also a confirmed bachelor, so when the holidays rolled around, I think every woman in the neighborhood took it as a personal challenge to feed and fatten him up. As he went from house-to-house he was given platefuls of cookies, casseroles, and pies. I’ve never seen a man look so happy and content. So, if you know a guy like Hank, go ahead and be generous. Otherwise, just give cash or a small gift, but make sure you know who is allowed to accept what. For example, the United States Postal Service workers can accept gift cards, but they can’t be the kind that can be used as cash and they can’t exceed $20. On the other hand, UPS does not have a limit customers can tip their delivery folks, while FedEx is the Grinch of the group and discourages their folks accepting holiday cash or gift cards. If money or gift cards just aren’t an option, I’ve heard of another kind gesture you can try: snack boxes.

That’s right. Just like kids leaving Santa milk and cookies and carrots (for the reindeer), people have started to leave out snacks for the delivery person. My understanding is it can be done pretty inexpensively, or you can get all Pinterest-y with it. All you need is some sort of a box that can hold bottled water, pop, juice, goldfish crackers, candy bars, pretty much anything you think the mail or delivery person would like as they lug your packages through whatever Michigan weather has in store for them that day. It’s also suggested you make a little sign to let them know it’s for them and to thank them for all their hard work. It may not seem like a big gesture, but I’m sure it’s appreciated. It may even ensure that your package gets gently put on your porch instead of thrown. Don’t quote me on that, but it couldn’t hurt, right? Just consider it a last-ditch effort to earn extra nice points with the jolly man in the red suit.

I hope that helps and that all your packages arrive on time and in one piece.

Dear Crabby


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About Dear Crabby

Stuck in a rut? Need some biased advice from a crabby old baby-boomer? Read regularly by thousands and loved by some, Dear Crabby answers questions weekly to life's challenges. Send him a note at

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